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Immigration Alert: Visa Status Extensions Without Travel

Currently, the United States is under a Level 4 Global Health Advisory, meaning the Department of State is advising against all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world have suspended routine in-person appointments, including appointments to apply for and renew visa stamps.  The Department of Health and Human Services, together with the Center for Disease Control, issued orders to close both the Northern and Southern borders to all but essential travel.  With international travel coming seemingly to a halt, employers may be concerned about visa status expirations for their employees who typically extend their status through travel or the consulate, including those in E, Blanket L-1, and TN visa status.

While local field offices of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have temporarily suspended routine in-person services, the Service Centers that process immigration petitions continue to operate.  It is possible to extend the visa status of E, Blanket L-1, and TN visa holders by filing an extension petition with USCIS.  Filing such a petition with USCIS does not require departure from the United States.  Upon USCIS’ receipt of a timely filed extension petition in the same visa category, these employees are provided an automatic extension of their work authorization for 240 days or until their petition is adjudicated, whichever comes first. 

Please contact your Vorys attorney if you need assistance with extending your employee’s visa status. 


Vorys COVID-19 Task Force

Vorys attorneys and professionals are counseling our clients in the myriad issues related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  We have also established a comprehensive Coronavirus Task Force, which includes attorneys with deep experience in the niche disciplines that we have been and expect to continue receiving questions regarding coronavirus. Learn more and see the latest updates from the task force at

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